The Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico) is the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world.The telescope's huge dish is 305 meters (1000 feet) in diameter and 269 meters (167 feet) deep. It covers an area of about twenty acres.The surface is made of almost 40,000 perforated aluminum panels, each measuring about 3 feet by 6 feet,supported by a network of steel cables strung across the underlying natural limestone sinkhole.
A 900 ton platform hangs 450 feet above the dish and is suspended by eighteen cables strung from three concrete towers.Another system of three pairs of cables runs from each corner of the platform to large concrete blocks under the reflector.They are attached to giant jacks which allow adjustment of the height of each corner with millimeter precision.
Attached to the bottom of the platform are a series of antennas that are designed to measure radio emissions at different wavelengths. The antennas ride along rails so their positions and be adjusted to look at different parts of the sky.
The Arecibo Observatory is recognized as one of the most important national centers for research in radio astronomy, planetary radar and terrestrial aeronomy. Each year the telescope is made available to about 200 scientists from around the world.
One of the observatory's first accomplishments was the measurement of Mercury's rotation rate of 59 days (1965).The first pulsar in a binary star system was discovered at Arecibo, leading to an important confirmation of Einstein's theory of general relativity (1974).It has also been used to make detailed maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe.Arecibo's powerful radar has allowed us to "see" through the clouds of Venus and it continues to reveal the surface structure of asteroids that pass through our part of the Solar System.
The following photo gallery presents images of the Arecibo Observatory. The photos are available both as high resolution files (300 dpi) for publication and as custom enlargements. Please contact MrEclipse for more information.For additional photos, see Arecibo Observatory Photo Gallery 2.
Click on each image to see a larger photo.
All photographs, text and web pages are © Copyright 2007 by Fred Espenak, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. They may not be reproduced, published, copied or transmitted in any form, including electronically on the Internet or WWW, without written permission of the author. The photos have been digitally watermarked.
The photographs may be licensed for commercial, editorial, and educational use. Contact Espenak (at MrEclipse) for photo use in print, web, video, CD and all other media.
Last revised: 2008 Feb 10